Psalm 84:2 = My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Psalm 5:1-3 = Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10= But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Deep in my heart I long for your temple,and with all that I am I sing joyful songs to you. (Contemporary English Version) My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (English Standard Version) My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God. (Amplified Version) How I want to be there!I long to be in the Lord's Temple.With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God. (Good News Bible) What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,Always dreamed of a room in your house,where I could sing for joy to God-alive! (The Message)
This is our verse for the 1st week of the "Made To Crave" Bible Study. I love how all these versions/paraphrases add insight into the verse. "Longs", "faints", "pines", "yearns", "longing", "dreamed", "cry out", "sing", "joy". All these words describe HOW VERY MUCH the psalmist wants to be with His God!
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23, 31
So what is Paul saying in this verse? Is he saying that ALL things are ok for me to eat/drink/watch/read/spend time in? I don't think so. I believe he's saying that just because it's permitted doesn't mean it's BEST. Just because I can have a bacon cheeseburger with bbq sauce dripping off doesn't mean it's the best thing for me to eat. Confession time: next Wednesday you will find me at Red Robin with my good friend, Tina, eating a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger. Why? Because we're celebrating our birthdays and Red Robin gives their loyal customers a free burger in their birthday month. Instead of eating a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger every day or even once a week or even once a month, I choose to make that a special treat reserved for celebrating my birthday. The reason is, I know that even though that burger tastes good and it's "lawful" for me to eat, it's not BENEFICIAL for me to eat frequently. It's permitted for me to watch "Criminal Minds" or "Law and Order" type shows. I enjoy crime shows, though my husband can't figure out why. But it's definitely not the best thing for me to be filling my mind with, especially after dark. So, I'll watch an episode or 2 and then move onto something more uplifting like "Call the Midwife" or "Columbo". Or I'll turn the TV off and pick up a book. What's my point? Well, I want to challenge you (and myself) to THINK before putting a bite of food in our mouths; to STOP before turning the TV on to a "not-so-good" show; to ask ourselves, "Is this just permissible or is it beneficial? Will this thing (
"My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God." Psalm 84:2 "As the heart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God!" Psalms 42:1-2
Today as I took a warm bath I meditated on these verses and I cried out to God that I needed HIM on this journey. Without HIS strength and HIS power I cannot change my cravings from food/books/me time to Him and His word! I WANT to crave Him. I WANT to want Him more than anything else. I want my every breath to be for Him and for His glory. But, my sinful, selfish self battles my desire to want God above all else. This will be an eternal battle until I go to my eternal home - heaven. And I cannot wait for that day!!! The thing I love about the picture above is that the mama deer is teaching her baby to crave water. This is a picture for me of what my goal should be as a mom - to teach my babies (and my tween) to crave God above all else. My prayer is that my children will desire God more than watching TV, more than clothes, more than finding a spouse, more than playing video games, more than food, more than ANYTHING! So part of my goal in this 6 week journey is to find ways to instill that in my kids.
I do crave all of those things at some point or another. And none of them are bad. None of them are sinful.......unless they take away from God. Confession time: they do. And that's the problem. Today, right now - I want In N Out more than I want God. I'd rather watch my 49er's play (and win) than commune with God. I want to read a book instead of spending time with my Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Provider, Friend, Guardian, Protector, and my ALL in ALL!
So, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to change those cravings? I'm not really sure. But a good 1st step is where I'm at right now - I WANT to want Him more. I WANT to desire Him above all else. I WANT to turn to him instead of food or books or sports. My 2nd step is starting this coming Sunday, January 19. I'm going to begin a Bible Study with 30,000+ ladies at Proverbs 31 called, "Made to Crave". It's based on a book by the same title written by Lysa TerkHeurst. I'm not just reading the book but I'm interacting closely with about 20 ladies in a small group. Already I've been encouraged and strengthened as I read how God's using this study (before it's even begun) to change our hearts toward Him. As I go on this 6 week journey I'm going to be blogging/journaling here my thoughts and my responses to what God's teaching me. So I invite you to join me as I seek His face through this short study and beyond!
I want to address something most young moms feel condemnation for - quiet time (or devotions or whatever you call it) or the lack thereof. I'm not that young (I'll be 40 in a couple weeks) but my kids are still pretty young (11, 8, 7 & 5). There are many days that I'm lucky to get my Bible Study homework done much less spend extra time in God's word.
A few weeks ago I heard an older woman say that God wants our best and sitting on the toilet while reading the Bible isn't our best. That got me to thinking -
Am I really giving God less than my best when I do my CBS homework while sitting in the bathroom? Is praying to Him while I'm in the shower okay?
I came to the conclusion that He doesn't care. My Heavenly Father knows how busy I am, how stressed I am. Since I home school all 4 of my kids they are here ALL day, EVERY day and there aren't many quiet moments in my day. If I waited until my house is quiet and the kids are well behaved and no one needs me I'd still be waiting. If I waited until all was perfect to pray/read the Bible/do my Bible Study homework, I'd still be waiting!! He wants me to turn to Him because I need His strength and His power not because it's my homework/duty. He desires a relationship with me. If that means I spend 5 minutes in His word in the bathroom, 10 minutes praying in the shower, 20 minutes singing his praises while I fix dinner, another 5 minutes later in the day while I'm brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed - then that's the best I've got!
Susanna Wesley, mom to John and Charles, was the mother of 19 children (WOW!) and her solution was to sit in a chair and pull her skirt or apron over her head to get an alone moment with God. She knew if she was to love and serve her family she needed to be spiritually recharged. With all that pressed in on her - an absent husband, 19 children, and managing a household without the luxuries of microwaves, dishwashers, and washing machines - she was resourceful and got as alone as she could to spend time with her Savior and be re-energized for what the rest of the day held.
What's my point? My point is - be creative and use the brief moments God gives you to spend time with him. One day our kids will be grown and gone. We'll have more time to sit in a comfy chair or stay in bed til noon reading the Bible, praying for everyone we can think of, and doing our Bible Study homework. For now, don't use your busy life with young kids as an excuse to not get spiritually recharged. We need God more NOW than ever before. Do not feel condemnation if your time with God is in the shower or sitting on the toilet. He wants to hear from you and speak to you - take advantage of the moments given you to spend time with your Lord!!! YOU ARE FREE!
When I'm seeking God's will for me I get very impatient to know the end result. Is the answer "Yes", "No", or "Just wait. I have something better for you." When trials come (loss of job, unexpected pregnancy, miscarriage, child running from God, illness, death, etc) I'm tempted to lose hope and not trust God. When in the midst of confusion, it's easy to want to do our own thing - in our own power. It seems easier to move ahead instead of praying, searching Scripture, or waiting for direction. But, God wants me to trust Him and allow Him to work, in His time.
A few years ago Mike and I were seeking His will in my work situation and there wasn't an easy answer. It would mean a lot more money but also a lot more hours worked. Stay put? Move on? What is the answer? At the time I really wished that God would have sent me a Facebook message or a text. Wait a minute....He did send me a message.
Psalm 37:4, 5, 7 - Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
God's message to me then and now is that I am to delight myself in the Lord. But exactly what does that mean? I believe it means that I am to seek my happiness and contentment from God, not from my husband, my job, my abilities, or my status.
Ok - if I find my happiness in God He will give me the desires of my heart. Does this mean that anything I want I'll get? I don't think so! I believe it means that when I'm seeking Him my desires will be regulated by His desires. I'll only desire things that are within His will. He will implant me with His desires.
So, 1st I'm to delight in God then I'm to commit my way to Him and trust Him. That's a little harder. It means I have to give Him my burden, my worries, my anxiety, my fears. I can hear you now, "But I don't want to give it totally to God - then I'm not in control anymore!" EXACTLY! We're supposed to give our confusion and uncertainty to Him. He has our best interests in mind and He WILL bring what's best for us. I remember a praise song we used to sing at Cedarville, "I cast all my cares upon you. I lay all of my burdens down at your feet. And any time I don't know what to do, I will cast all my cares upon you." That's precisely what God is asking me (and you) to do - Lay our burdens at His feet!
Now for the hard part - REST and WAIT! Rest in his promises, in his faithfulness, in his willingness to bless! Wait for him to bring my circumstance about. He may seem to take a long time. It may seem he's not working, that he doesn't care. But he says, “Don't worry, don't be anxious or troubled.” HE is worth waiting for!!!
When I'm facing a decision or a moment of uncertainty/confusion God wants me to seek my happiness from HIM, commit my path to him, trust in him, rest in his promises, and wait for him to work!
A couple days after writing that in my journal I wrote the following: Well, I thought I had an answer. I thought the door was open. Now, I'm not so sure. I am tempted to feel discouraged and give up. We're studying Deuteronomy in CBS this year and chapter 31 has some wisdom:
The LORD your God himself will go over before you...Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread...for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you...Be strong and courageous...It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
It's almost as if God is speaking right to me. I'm not going into the Promised Land without Moses, I'm not facing a battle for the land God's promised me. However, I am facing a hard decision. I can rest in the promise that God is going before me, He's going with me, and he will never leave me! I'm still confused and unsure what God wants. The door still seems to be shut. But God has prepared my path, He is walking with me, and will never leave my side.
The result of that time of indecision and confusion was that I left Mother/Baby at Carilion and returned to BRWC job sharing the Nurse Manager position. I had to trust God to lead me where He could best use me and where I would grow closer to Him. Yes, there have been times when I've wondered if I truly heard God telling me to leave Carilion and go back to BRWC but I've never regretted it. I know He opened the doors for me to return to the center where I get paid to do what I love!
I'm Jen - mom to 4 munchkins (E-14, AP-10, AE-9, R-7) and wife to Mike since 1999. We live in Southwestern Virginia where we are in our 8th year of home schooling. I'm also a RN at a Maternity Care Center working postpartum and nursery.